“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I haven’t any idea where this phrase originates from, but it’s one that absolutely everyone has heard. While it is a wise proverb, it isn’t always true. Sometimes one man’s trash is every man’s trash. Like a discarded wrapper from a McDonald’s burger. I think it’s safe to say that would be universally accepted as trash. Well, much like that greasy wrapper, Enter Digiton: Heart of Corruption is a wad of nothing.
Published and developed by eastasiasoft, this 2D metroidvania sees you take control of a dude with a shield on his quest to save the kingdom of Digiton. In order to complete this task, you are armed with a magical shield that can parry enemy projectiles or be thrown like a boomerang. If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, just imagine it’s Captain America and then the vacant stare of the character’s sprite will feel much more fitting.
While this game may technically be a metroidvania due to its focus on backtracking, key collecting, and door/shortcut opening, it certainly doesn’t feel like a metroidvania. What I mean by that is the game’s level design is horrible and there isn’t any sense of growth, expansion, or progression.
Let’s start with the level design. In a well-constructed metroidvania, the entire game world should feel connected. Getting from one place to another should feel organic. A wooded area, for example, should slowly have less and less trees if it’s transitioning into a desert, beach, or craggy mountain. In Enter Digiton, this is not the case. Environments change in the blink of an eye as you move from left to right, as if a fickle god flipped an environmental light switch.
Compounding this issue is the fact that the areas through which you move and the platforms you jump on have no sense of flow or cohesive placement to them. Moving the character doesn’t feel bad, necessarily, but the level layouts themselves aren’t fun to explore at all.
Going back to the other reasons that this game doesn’t feel like a metroidvania – your character never grows. There are no abilities to unlock which make you a more capable fighter, that help you traverse the world, or that unlock any ways forward. Your character remains virtually unchanged throughout the entire game. A metroidvania should make you feel as if you or the world you’re wandering through is progressing. You should be getting stronger, enemies should be getting tougher, or something should be happening to give the impression that something is actually happening. Enter Digiton does not do any of this.
Now before you possibly protest by saying, “Hold up! You can collect different masks in the game for abilities! It says so on the store page!” Yes. You can find, collect, and equip different masks but they do not give you abilities. They give you more health, increase your speed, or some other insignificant stat boost. They are completely worthless.
The game’s enemies also feel worthless. They’re insultingly easy to defeat, and boring to fight. They’re animated in the loosest sense of the word, hitting them with your shield offers absolutely zero appeal, and they quickly feel like nothing more than unpleasant speed bumps as you try to zip through the game to your next destination. The combat in Enter Digiton: Heart of Corruption is one of the most bland, simple, repetitive, and boring pieces of gameplay I’ve seen this year.
A second form of irritating speed bumps comes in the form of dialogue/story interruptions if you ever feel so foolish as to talk to an NPC. Everything they say is a cringeworthy attempt at humor, and, eventually, I ended up avoiding friendly characters more than hostile ones.
In terms of visuals, I would say they’re just fine. Not awful, not stupendous, but perfectly passable. I’ve seen many a game attempt a similar style while burning one’s retinas, but Enter Digiton never made my eyes water so I’d call that a success. Yet, I’m still not a tremendous fan of the aesthetics since they suffer from that abrupt environmental switching issue mentioned above.
When it comes down to it, Enter Digiton: Heart of Corruption is just confusing. I routinely found myself asking why the game even exists. It doesn’t have an interesting story to tell, its combat is monotonous, its world design is incredibly poor, and moving through it isn’t fun at all. Part of the reason I was pondering the game’s existence came from the fact that I earned every single one of its achievements in less than twelve minutes. I played much longer after that point, but if the game just belches a bunch of achievements in my face for doing hardly anything, then what’s the point? Obviously the game doesn’t seem to care much about the ending if there isn’t an achievement for it, so why should I? Enter Digiton: Heart of Corruption is a soulless excuse for a platformer and proves that not all trash could be seen as treasure.
Fight for the kingdom of Digiton in Enter Digiton: Heart of Corruption on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One